A professor at the University of Houston’s Cullen College of Engineering has received a $150,000 grant from the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory to continue developing anti-ice coatings for aircrafts.
Dr. Hadi Ghasemi, an associate professor of Mechanical Engineering, said he is the sole researcher for the six-month, highly focused study, “Ice Shedding Coatings for Aircrafts.” It is being done in collaboration with Elemental Coatings, the corporation for the lab’s commercial work. The UH portion of the grant is $45,000.
According to an abstract for the project, the research builds upon previous work by Ghasemi’s lab on rotor protection tape for several different Air Force programs.
“The new tape will be developed through collaboration between the University of Houston, Elemental Coatings and Boeing Corporation, and not only help to prevent structural damage to rotor blades and protect from erosive effects, but it will also help minimize ice buildup,” Ghasemi wrote. “This is a first-of-its-kind product that builds on UH and Elemental Coatings’ established expertise around aviation ice prevention, addressing known issues across rotorcraft programs.”
Ghasemi noted that his group has now worked several times with Boeing and the USAFRL.
“We have collaborated with Boeing and USAFRL before, and introduced a new ice-shedding coating for their aircraft wings,” he said. “The qualification and testing of the coatings are conducted by Boeing, while UH provided fundamental insight on the development of these coatings. Since my group has expertise in ice-shedding coatings, through presentation and brainstorming at scientific conferences, we have developed these connections with Boeing and USAFRL. It’s more than one year that we launched these collaborations, and we’ve conducted several joint projects together, totaling more than $500,000 in funding.”
Although he is now a professor in Houston, Ghasemi has first-hand experience with the effect ice can have on everyday life in colder regions.
“I lived in Toronto and Boston, and I completely understand the impact of icing on technologies and daily life,” he said. “It is a continuous battle in the winter. Despite being a problem every winter, there has not been any solution to this problem so far. Through more than six years of R&D and several collaborations with industrial stakeholders, we have provided a promising solution that has been currently used in few applications internationally and continue to be adopted in the industry. It has been a fruitful journey to address this long-standing problem, bring a better quality of life for people in the winter and work with our partners to extend adoption of this solution.”